Recently, I spoke at an annual conference of 100 CEOs and shared some of the following top technology trends that can help increase revenue or reduce expenses over the next five years.
Why Read this Article if You're a Business Executive?
Over the last 50 years, major technology change lasted about 10 years. Most companies took their time to adopt a new technology and continued to be successful. Technology was like accounting. You needed to have it work well, but you didn't typically base your business plans or strategy on new accounting rules.
It is now a very different world. The number of new technologies and the time to implementation has significantly sped up. Now you may have only a few years before your major competitors are offering more and better services at a lower cost than you. Start-up companies that are well funded by venture capital are moving quickly to disrupt older established industries. Company leaders that dominated an industry for 20+ years can be replaced in only a few years.
New Technology is being used to change established business models every day around the world. Senior executives need to pay attention and educate themselves on the new technology trends and NOT delegate this to other managers in the company.
Top Tech Trends
Here's a small sample of the new technology trends that are changing business today ...and will be changing them over the next five to ten years.
- Cloud Tech Trend
Cloud Definition: Network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process data ...rather than in your office on a local server or on a personal computer (Wikipedia).
Current Situation: Most software solutions are quickly moving to Cloud Applications, Storage and Management. Going forward your business risk and costs go up, not down, by NOT moving to Cloud-based solutions. Even top financial services and accounting applications are migrating to cloud systems. Remember your Windows XP migration experience? Don't ignore this trend.
Cloud Tip: Create a migration plan and budget to move your IT Apps and Data to Cloud Solutions. The timing should be based on your updated business goals and an assessment of your competition. You can use in-house or outsource resources.
- Mobile Tech Trend
Smartphones and Tablets supplement (but not necessarily replace) laptops and desktops. Most workers and managers are mobile during the day and need to stay connected with co-workers and customers. Mobile devices also expand working coverage to off hours and allow faster response times to emergency issues.
Mobile Website Tip: Google changed their search algorithm in May to reduce the search rankings of companies that have poorly designed websites when viewed on mobile devices. Ask your webmaster if your website uses something called "Responsive Design" technology. Our website was upgraded last fall to include "Responsive Design." It now looks good on most smartphones, tablets, laptops or a large TV screen. You're using it right now.
- Cyber Security Tech Trend
Cyber Crime has jumped to a top priority in all businesses due to the dramatic increase in risk and expenses to prevent and implement damage control after a break-in.
Enterprise: 95% of enterprises and governments have or will have some type of cyber break-in in the next few years. Large companies are now investing millions of dollars for Cyber Security.
Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs): Criminals are now targeting the under protected, underfunded and under skilled SMBs to attack.
Cyber Security Quick Tips: Fast ROI projects include implementing: VPNS (Virtual Private Networks), Password Managers, Encrypted Data, 2-Step App Sign-on Verification, Cyber Security Audits and Cyber Insurance.
- 3D-Printing Tech Trend
3D-Printing explained: Click to watch my favorite short video that explains 3D Printing for kids and adults.
This technology is now used in hundreds of business situations. 3D-Printing may improve your employee productivity, improve customer service and reduce expenses. Here are a few business ideas:
Operations and Maintenance: Print Spare Part Replacements to save time and money. The International Space Station is now using a 3D-printer to print spare parts and replacement tools.
Employee Gifts: Print awards and recognition gifts for employees to improve morale
Marketing: Print customized VIP gifts (and even food) to give you a competitive advantage with existing customers and new prospects.
- Drones (or Flying Robots) Tech Trend
In 2015, Amazon really kicked off the idea of using drones in business. Federal, State and Local Governments are now working to define the new laws for using drones. However, many companies have begun to unofficially test them for business projects.
Business Ideas for Drones: You can use drones for campus or building video security, property inspections, delivery of spare parts during last minute repairs, delivery of products to customers and for disaster assistance and rescue.
- The Internet of Things (or IOT) Tech Trend
Internet of Things (IOT) Definition: Everyday objects have embedded chips with internet connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data (Wikipedia).
Sample Office Products with IOT that you will be buying at Office Depot or Staples soon: locks, light bulbs & switches, doors, file cabinets, closets, HVAC, windows, security, smoke detectors, phones, power outlets, chairs, desks, laptops, whiteboards, TVs, picture frames, projectors, screens, door bells, keys, tools, copiers, pens, staplers, power strips, and more.
Business Use: Limited for now. If you like gadgets, buy lightbulbs, electric switches and door locks. Look for more business uses in the next two to three years.
Example Uses: Future chairs will adjust for you as you approach. Desks will unlock for only you. Desk lights will adjust just for your desk area.
Benefits: Look for IOT products to work with your current smartphones, tablets, laptops and eventually your wearable devices (see below).
IOT Tip: This is a very big technology trend that will eventually replace almost every office product you own or buy in the future. Your future younger employees will demand this technology in employer offices.
- Wearables Tech Trend
Wearables Definition: Clothing and accessories incorporating computer chips.
The wearables tech trend is a lot bigger than just the Apple Watch. Over time, look for new wearable business apps ...and for many smartphone apps to migrate to wearable clothes and accessories with chips. Think Name Badges moving to Star Trek-like Communicators.
Business Use: Limited for now. If you like gadgets, buy an Apple Watch (or any other smartwatch) and enjoy the learning process. Look for business use in the next two to three years.
- Self-Driving Vehicles Tech Trend
Self-Driving Vehicles will reduce business insurance costs, reduce accidents and improve employee productivity.
In 2017, self-driving Volvo cars will be legally driven on the roads in Sweden. Over the next five years, we will begin to see more of them on USA roads. According to a recent USA Today report, the first self-driving vehicle may be 18-wheel trucks to reduce accidents and improve driver productivity. Oh my!
Business Use: Not available in the USA at this time. If you like gadgets and have a large budget, buy a Tesla electric car and enjoy their built-in self-driving features. Look for business use in the next five to ten years.
Follow up Action
- Meet with your IT Executives, Managers, Consultants or Outsource Support resources in the next 30 to 45 days. You should discuss these trends and determine whether you are fully prepared to defend your business and to take advantage of these changes to help you grow over the next three to five years.
- Please contact us if you would like to have an outside technology advisor participate in your short-term reviews or your planning process. We are happy to help you.
Photo credit: iStock-Getty Images